Classroom Management

Managing student complaints

Three Tips for Navigating Contentious Classroom Discussions

Good teaching often relies on productive classroom discussion. However, many of us have experienced dynamics in which our discussions take a perilous turn and a palpable tension settles over the class. The precipitating comment may have offered a provocative perspective on an issue—maybe it rather

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Course Policies: Enforce or Be Flexible?

Policies governing deadlines, missed assignments, makeup quizzes or exams, use of electronic devices, extra credit, and grade calculation are part and parcel of college courses today. Most appear in the syllabus and are discussed when the course begins. Even though a policy may clearly state

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Cell Phone Use and Abuse: The Details

Here’s a sampling of details from a recent survey that asked students and faculty a variety of questions about their use of cell phones (including smart phones), their perceptions of the effects of doing so and their estimation of the effectiveness of faculty phone policies.

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Student Views on Disruptive Behaviors

More than 200 upper-division undergraduate students (students with experience in nearly 20 college-level courses) were asked to describe two incidents involving other students that negatively influenced their classroom experience. In addition, the students were asked to rate the frequency of the behavior, how seriously it

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Teaching Students the Importance of Professionalism

In almost a decade of teaching, I find myself lamenting that I still have to remind students to arrive on time, bring the proper materials, and pay attention to lectures. Despite admonitions and penalizing grades, students still use cellphones, do the bare minimum to pass

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‘Prof, I Need an Extension …’

Student excuses—don’t you feel as though you’ve heard them all? “My Dad’s in the hospital.” “I’ve been sick with the flu.” “My computer hard drive has crashed.” How often do students offer truthful excuses? “The assignment turned out to be way harder than I anticipated

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Could It Be Fear?

Students have been known to do annoying things in class: they come late and leave early; they talk to each other but won’t answer teacher’s questions; they look at the teacher but with emotionless faces. Behaviors like these and others can get under a teacher’s

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